Little Heroes

Movie review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
Little Heroes Movie Poster Image
Home Alone-style movie with lots of slapstick, little joy.
  • NR
  • 1999
  • 110 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Loyalty; telling the truth even in the face of danger.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Dogs Samson and Hercules are loyal pets and protectors. Charlie remains calm while kidnapped until he can call police. Parents Charles and Shelly still do the right thing and refuse to lie during their congressional testimony, even though their lives and their child's life is in jeopardy.

Violence & Scariness

Child is kidnapped, mouth taped, tied up, stuffed in a car; maid is kidnapped, mouth taped, put in a closet; man steals purse; dog bites noses and behinds of criminals; man steals purse; frequent scenes of slapstick injury, such as crashing into a Dumpster; falling off a trellis and down stairs, head lands in toilet; two men slide across tile floor and crash into cabinetry; dog pees on a man's head; man's head stuck in hole in wall endures spider crawling over it; high-speed car chase.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Little Heroes is a middling but family-friendly Home Alone-style movie featuring bumbling criminals who kidnap a kid and hold him hostage so his parents won't testify to Congress against the tobacco industry. It features taping a kid and a maid's mouths shut, tying them up, and keeping them hostage, which younger kids could find scary, and numerous sequences of slapstick violence and injury, including a dog peeing on a man's head, biting a man's butt a few times, and generally lots of pratfalls. The dogs are cute but the movie lacks much of the joy, humor, and comic timing of the films that inspired it.

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What's the story?

Harry Burton is on his way to testify in Congress against the big, bad tobacco industry when criminals Slick (Brad Sergi) and Carni (Thomas Garner) kidnap his son Charlie and let him know they'll hold him hostage unless Burton alters his very damaging testimony. Luckily, Charlie has loyal, faithful, and beyond-capable pet dogs Hercules and Samson on his side, and soon the two give the criminals a run for their money.

Is it any good?

Though in spirit this film attempts to carry on the legacy of good-natured, slapstick fun of Home Alone, it falls far short of the mark in terms of plot, pacing, dialogue, acting, and jokes. Kids of a certain age may find dogs peeing on heads and biting butts hysterically funny, and there's only cartoonish violence here, although worth noting is that a kid is tied up and stuffed in a car and then a barn, which may be scary to some kids. Overall, there's nothing much to worry about in terms of intensity, but for the genre, there are much better alternatives that will at least instill a sense of good humor in viewers and reward all ages. The tobacco industry subplot may not make much sense in an era when smoking has been justly vilified, and the father's ultimate good act -- telling the truth in the face of great danger -- may not resonate much either.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of movies about kids left alone. Why do you think there are so many?

  • Do you think criminals are really like the ones in this movie? Why, or why not?

  • Have you ever seen dogs control the remote control? Do dogs really act like this? Why do you think there are so many movies where they do?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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